August 3, 2000
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 2, 2000 via NewsEdge Corporation -
Genes regulating human immune response and development of cardiac hypertrophy covered
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARIA) today announced the issuance of a broad U.S. patent (6,096,515) covering a family of drug discovery targets known collectively as "NF-AT". These novel genes play a key role in the signal transduction pathways that regulate the immune response and the development of cardiac hypertrophy. Small-molecule inhibition of specific NF-AT genes should lead to innovative therapies for autoimmune diseases, organ transplant rejection, and congestive heart failure, without many of the toxicities of currently marketed drugs for these indications.
NF-AT controls T-cell activation by regulating the transcription of the interleukin-2 gene, a critical growth factor involved in immune function. Activation of the immune system through the NF-AT pathway is part of the body's normal defense mechanism against foreign pathogens. Uncontrolled activation of T cells can cause autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. An immune response to transplanted organs or bone marrow also can lead to tissue rejection requiring immunosuppression. Similarly, activation of a specific NF-AT pathway in cardiac cells can result in inappropriate thickening of the heart walls, known as left ventricular hypertrophy, often leading to congestive heart failure and death.
"Issuance of this fundamental patent further solidifies ARIAD's proprietary position in drug discovery based on inhibiting signal transduction targets," said Harvey J. Berger, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of ARIAD. "Given the well-defined role of NF-AT in autoimmune and cardiac diseases and ARIAD's dominant intellectual property position relating to these validated targets, we plan to license this technology to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies pursuing the discovery of drugs targeting NF-AT genes. We anticipate that this will provide another source of revenues derived from our core technology platforms."
The new ARIAD patent (U. S. Patent No. 6,096,515) is available on the world wide web at http://www.uspto.gov/web/menu/search.html.
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (www.ariad.com) is a leader in the discovery and development of gene therapy, cell therapy, stem cell therapy and protein therapy products featuring dose-dependent regulation by small-molecule drugs, as well as small-molecule inhibitors of signal transduction.
Some of the matters discussed in this news release are forward-looking
statements that involve risks and uncertainties. For example, there can
be no assurance that if a patent is issued, any such patent would be enforceable
or provide meaningful protection. Other risks and uncertainties include,
but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties regarding the Company's
preclinical studies, the ability of the Company to conduct clinical trials
of its products and the results of such trials, as well as risks and uncertainties
relating to economic conditions, markets, products, competition, intellectual
property, services and prices, key employees, future capital needs, dependence
on our collaborators and other factors under the heading "Cautionary Statement
Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" in ARIAD's Annual Report on Form
10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1999 filed with the Securities
and Exchange Commission.
CONTACT: ARIAD | Jay LaMarche, 617/494-0400 | or | Pearson Communications
| Tom Pearson (for media), 610/407-9260 | or | SmallCaps Online Group,
LLC | Darcey Rakestraw (for investors), 212/554-4158